Monday, August 3, 2009

Waiting for Evanovich

By Marilyn Baron

We weren’t in the “burg,” but recently some friends and I went to Sam’s Club in Alpharetta, Georgia, to see #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich at a book signing for her latest Stephanie Plum novel, “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen.” We were told to get there at 10 a.m. for a noon signing. We arrived at about 10:30 and the lines were already forming. The folks at Sam’s Club were really nice and kept us well fed with tasty slivers of cheesecake garnished with frozen strawberries and bite-sized pieces of pizza.

Janet did get there early and started signing but we were in line for about an hour and a half. The parade of people (they stopped counting at 500) came in all ages, shapes and sizes, including babies in strollers, babies in baskets and babies balanced on hips. Some kids walked, trailing behind their parents. There were even some men. As we stood in line, one woman hit her husband over the head with a large purse and whined, “I told you we should get here early!” When you get this many ladies in a warehouse, there’s bound to be trouble.

Going to the Mattresses

I met some really nice people in line and we exchanged cards. One girl, Felicia, who came with a fellow member of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), carried over some folding chairs for us. Her friend said if you were ever stranded on a desert island, you’d want Felicia with you. Others followed suit and carried over bar stools, sat on couches, conveniently located on the aisle, and pulled out mattresses so we could rest our weary feet. One of my friends even pushed me through part of the line in a rolling office swivel chair. As we moved up in the line we became intimately acquainted with all the goods Sam’s Club had to offer – beds, couches, TVs, cameras and more.

There was a close call when a forklift drove up and the crowd control staff had to clear the aisle so the driver could lift off a ginormous flat screen TV from the top shelf. One of the staff, who took another opportunity to instruct us to “open our books to the title page” for the signing, looked suspiciously like Lula. Luckily, we didn’t run into Rex, the hamster.

Strangers held our place in line as we took bathroom breaks. The crowd went wild amid rumors of a Janet sighting in the restroom. To pass the time, Janet’s delightful daughter, Alex, came by and took an informal poll asking us who we liked better, Joe Morelli or Ranger. Personally I voted for Ranger and got a nice I “heart” RANGER pin. My friends all preferred Morelli and they got cool pins too. Some women talked about who would play Stephanie in the movie – Sandra Bullock, of course. And Joe Morelli? Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). All bets were off on Ranger.

When we got to the front of the line, we noticed Janet’s leg was in a cast. She had fallen off the stage in Toronto at a book signing, but she was a trooper and soldiered on to sign in Chicago and keep her Atlanta appointment.

I asked Janet for some advice for my fellow GRW members and she said, “Pay attention – don’t break your foot.” I guess if we were on Broadway, she’d tell us to “break a leg.” Seriously, her advice to writers was, “Write what you know and love.”

Maybe next year I’ll be the one signing while everyone else waits in line. Wouldn’t that be something?


Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning Marilyn! I can't believe I beat Sandy to the comments this morning. What a fun experience. And you are truly a dedicated fan. My daughter and I both read Evanovich and love the series. I want to learn a little more about Ranger before I make my choice of who to vote for in Stephanie's life.

Amanda said...

Thanks for commenting. Actually I like Morelli and Ranger. It's a difficult choice. But I have a feeling there's more to Ranger than meets the eye.

I went to another of Janet's book signings a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun too. I was sorry I missed her at nationals this year so I'm glad I got to see her again.

I also enjoyed seeing you and everyone who went to the luncheon with Dianna Love yesterday. That was a great luncheon! Thanks Dianna for a first-class experience.

Marilyn Baron

Tammy Schubert said...

I'm sorry I missed the signing. Stephanie Plum is a fabulous series. Ranger's my pick. Like Amanda, I think there is more to Ranger than meets the eye.

Marilyn Baron said...


I especially love Ranger's apartment. Is that too shallow?


CiCi Barnes said...

How exciting. I couldn't make it to Janet's signing, but when yours comes around next year, I'll be there with bells on.


Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Marilyn,

Sorry I got in here so late (9:38am), but I was putting out my 3,000 words for the day, starting at 4:30am. I'm taking a break and joining you. I'm sooo bummed I missed her signing at Sams. It sounds like it was a real hoot.

Also enjoyed the luncheon yesterday with everyone. (Thanks Dianna, you're fantastic)

I haven't read the series...yet. Of course my beloved critique partner will probably wonder what mushroom I've been hiding under, so I can forsee Janet's books in my home really soon. (g)

Great post.


Maxine Davis said...


I love to read Janet Evanovich's' 'Plum' books and I loved your blog.

I think I must not get out much. Didn't know she was coming, but glad you made it to the signing. Sounds like an exciting day.

I think . . ..Morelli, no Ranger,no Morelli. Oh, I give up.

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks CiCi.

Sandy, You have to have to read Janet Evanovich. You have such a great sense of humor I know you'll love her books.

I know, each time you read a book you change your mind about who she should end up with.


Sally Kilpatrick said...


Thanks for the great post--I could just see the folks in the Sams looking over the merchandise and "trying out" the furniture. Loved the title as well.

I was torn until you mentioned The Rock--if Joe Morelli is played by Dewayne Johnson, then he's my vote. I have a serious crush on "The People's Champ" that extendes all the way back to his WWE days.


Susan May said...

I hear Janet speak at nationals. She did a great job, but what I came away with was keep on keeping on. She had finaly admitted defeat and burned her rejections, going back to work as a temp. The next day she got home to find out her book had been bought.
At your first signing I'll come early and stand in line!!!

Marilyn Baron said...


I love The Rock too. If we had a younger actor like a Robert Mitchum type, he might make a good Morelli.

That is good advice from Janet. It's funny how people seem to give up right before they make it. Didn't that also happen to J. K. Rowling?


Linsey Lanier said...

Okay, new approach - everyone give up and see if we all get The Call the next day. Just kidding.

Thanks for a fun post, Marilyn. I felt like I was there. Wanted to rub my feet while I was reading it, LOL!

I need to catch up on the Stephanie Plum stories. Thanks for reminding me. Are they really going to make a movie? Or are we just speculating?


Marilyn Baron said...

That was my first reaction when I read what Susan wrote.

I'm not really sure if there is going to be a movie or if it's just speculation. But people in line were definitely talking about it.


Tami Brothers said...

This is great!!! Janet Evanovich was the first author who's book I did a review on and that was back around book 8 I think. I loved the series but have not read anything since. I think I'm going to need to play catch-up after all these wonderful comments. I have to figure out what all this Ranger and Morelli talk is about!

I love book signings although I've only been to a few. The ones by our fabulous GRW authors are always fun. My first book signing was for a wonderful writer out in Wyoming, Cathleen Galitz. She was awesome in giving me info on the writing world and even gave me the name of her agent. That was the beginning of my writing career.

The next big book (get-to-gether)I attended was the final Harry Potter book. Not a signing (although I really would have loved that), just the release but still it was an experience I will never forget and dream of having for myself (might as well dream big...).

Definitely let us know when the next big signings are. I would love to have seen something like this! AND I too will be standing in line at yours, Marilyn!!!


Debby Giusti said...

Marilyn, love your post. I can see you girls in SAMS, having fun and making friends with all those around you!

Like Susan, I heard Janet speak at the RWA National Conference and had my photo taken with her as well. During her talk, she said something I needed to hear. An editor once told her, "Don't save anything." When an idea comes, use it in the current WIP. Janet said more ideas will come with the next story. I've taken her words to heart. No more holding onto good ideas to be used in future stories. Now, I'm incorporating them into today's work, knowing tomorrow will be filled with more inspiration.

Great advice from a pro!

Marilyn Baron said...


The Harry Potter get together sounded great too.

What great advice. I'd never heard that and I am the one who saves everything in case I need it. From now on I'll use ideas when they're fresh.

Thanks both of you for commenting.


J Perry Stone said...

You will be signing, Marilyn. I know it.

Marilyn Baron said...


Ana Aragón said...


How fun! I know you must have been so excited. I love meeting authors with whom I feel a connection...and Janet Evanovich is one. I have read every single book in the Stephanie Plum series and LOVE them!

Ranger or Joe? For me, it's definitely Joe!


Marilyn Baron said...


They're both great and each time she interacts with one or the other I favor that one. I think she'll probably end up with Joe.


Marin Thomas said...


loved hearing your story about the book signing! And what a great picture of you and Janet.

Samantha's Cowboy *on sale now*

Anna Steffl said...


When you're signing at Sam's club, I'll remember to get there early.

Anna Steffl said...


When you're signing at Sam's club, I'll remember to get there early.

Cinthia Hamer said...

Thanks, Marilyn for the great "Play by Play" for JE's signing. Wish I could have been there.

I love that I'm not the only person who thinks Sandra Bullock would make a great Stephanie Plum. I've thought that for years. Ranger is a great "bad boy" and we all love them, but as we discussed once on here, it's the dependable types who make the best hubbies. :)

I think Dwayne Johnson would make a better Ranger than a Morelli. Personally, I think Vin Diesel (with his head unshaven) would make a perfect Morelli.

And nobody but Queen Latifah as Lula.

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks Brenda (Marin) and Anna for commenting.

Cinthia, Definitely Queen Latifah as Lula.


Dianna Love said...

Sorry I couldn't make it here yesterday (the usual crazy day before leaving town again).

LOL - I love the visual of everyone sitting on chairs and beds and whatever. You'll have to use that in a story. Isn't it fun to meet people under those circumstances? Glad you had a great time and I can't say which guy I'd choose.

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog and for all your support. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Marilyn Baron

K.L.J. said...

Great post! The signing was so much fun. We will all go stand in line when it's your turn to sign books!

Felicia said...

I had a rip roarin' good time with all you ladies too :)

Here's my write up of the big event including pictures of the forklift! :)

Marilyn Baron said...


Thanks for your comment and yes it was fun and I enjoyed seeing you at the signing.

I'm going to go right out and read your write-up.


Marilyn Baron said...


I read your post. It was really funny. I especially loved your mattress shot. Stop by anytime.

Marilyn Baron

Nicki Salcedo said...

Marilyn, I'd wait in line to read your book! What fun. Not only are you a good writer, but you are a good reader, too.

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks Nicki. I would wait in line to read your book too.


Carol Burnside said...

All in all, it sounds like you had a really nice time. Much better than just walking in and getting an autograph. How fun!